Alan Interview from Hungarian electro site08.06.2007
The following is a translation of an interview Alan gave to a Hungarian electro site, Machine Music. The orginal interview, in Hungarian, can be found here.
The Shunt Staff
MM: Why did we have to wait so long for the new Recoil album?
AW: Basically because I needed a break. After 'Liquid', I felt quite quite mentally drained and this coincided with the birth of our second child, Stanley. I thought that I should spend more time performing child-care duties (even though my wife Hep still does most of it!). I did try to get some sort of project going on a couple of occasions during the last 5 years but I just couldn't get on a roll, so I took that as a sign that I needed more time away from the studio. Eventually, with a caring but firm shove from Hep, I got my act together and started work again in earnest. This was late 2005.
MM: How much does 'subHuman' follow that musical direction which characterized the 'Liquid' and 'Unsound Methods' albums?
AW: 'subHuman' still supplies many of the typical Recoil trademarks in that it is quite dark with strong atmosphere - so there are definite links to former albums. My favourite records are always those that the listener has to 'learn' - albums that take several plays in order to appreciate the arrangements and the more subtle elements. I think this LP is possibly less experimental and contains more obvious melodies but it's still a long way from 'pop'. (That's never been a problem for me!) I just do what comes naturally and in this case, most of the music I came up with veered off in a blues direction - similar to a few tracks I have produced in the past, not only on 'Liquid' and 'Unsound Methods' but also 'Bloodline' and even at times, with Depeche Mode. I followed up on that by searching for an authentic blues singer and came up with Joe Richardson via the internet.
MM: Do you plan any co-operation with other musicians, artists for side-projects or does Recoil gives you enough occupation?
AW: I have no plans at this time to collaborate on any other projects. Since I started work again, Recoil has taken up all my time and I hope to get moving quite soon on another album. I guess I will be looking for people to contribute to that but it is still a long way off.
MM: Many music sites describe Recoil's music as 'Electro-blues' or complex soundtrack-like sound. Do you agree with this label?
AW: Well I suppose that's a way to describe it but the results often cross into many other areas. I certainly like to experiment with sound and different genres. I often use pieces of classical orchestration as well as ethnic instruments and strange percussion loops. In fact, there is far more organic sound and human performance than pure electronics. In the end, it's not that important to me what the ratio is or how people wish to describe the music.
MM: The uncommon and unique Recoil tracks are not so radio or club friendly. Do you want to stay away from the commercial pop scene?
AW: For me, creating music is almost a subconscious process which means not getting clouded by worrying about the commerciality of the results. As I said, it's important to be instinctive and to have the confidence to allow it just to flow. By applying my methodology, what we end up with usually has a recognisable Recoil 'sound' - despite the wide variety of vocalists and other contributors. If the results happens to be commercial, fine. If not, that's also fine.
MM: You have been in the music business more than 25 years. What are the most important development in music making (e.g. tools, producing, marketing, engineering process, etc.) ?
AW: I think the computer has made it so much easier to experiment with sounds and, particularly, structure. It allows you to just try things that would have been impossible in the more traditional recording environment where everything had to be committed to tape at a much earlier stage. Of course, one always needs good ideas but I like the concept that anyone can have a go - and get decent results from the comfort of their own home, on an affordable budget.
MM: What kind of music are you listening to nowadays?
AW: I have always enjoyed the diversity of lots of areas of music, and from different eras. I don't listen to radio much (it's mainly shit in England) or music TV (also shit) so I'm probably quite out of touch with most of what's happening - but I do have a huge library of CDs and records from the last 35 years.
MM: What were the last 5 CDs you bought or downloaded?
Johnny Greenwood (Radiohead) - 'Bodysong'
Cocteau Twins - compilation
Air - 'Pocket Symphony'
The Raconteurs - 'Broken Boy Soldiers'
The Dears - 'Gang Of Losers' (I was disappointed with this - preferred their previous album - 'No Cities Left')
MM: Do you prefer to buy CDs rather than download from legal sites?
AW: I prefer the sound of Vinyl or CD which is currently far superior to MP3, and I am also from the generation that loves to hold the actual product in our hands! But I do download sometimes and will do so more in the future as soon as the quality improves. It is obviously the future of music sales and I welcome the new technology. For an artist like Recoil, trying or even expecting to get your CDs into the shops is pretty much a non-starter these days. On-line purchasing is the way to go and people are far more willing to search for your product that way. The idea of taking the shops and stores out of the equation is quite satisfying. Let them dumb down selling Madonna, Elton John and Nintendo games while the rest of us move forward. Of course, the downloading issue is also throwing the Record business into crisis as CD sales are plummeting. The Companies are desperately trying to find clever ways to integrate themselves into the new buying trends.
MM: Are you going to make any video clips?
AW: Not sure yet. It depends whether their is enough interest in the Recoil singles. Videos probably form the highest percentage of the overall budget for the making of each album. Considering the amount of times they actually get shown, I would question whether they are worth making.
MM: Can we expect any live shows?
AW: It's unlikely
Reporter: AlanTheWild & Liquid (machine music crew)
Sources: English, Hungarian